Welcome to the eternal now of Equipment Pointed Ankh, whose instrumental, electronics-squishing avant rock/future jazz will baffle and delight your earholes for years to come. Set your cruise controls in the direction of a fun, beer chugging midwestern American version of the tightly buttoned Euro adventurousness found on that sparkly Recommended Records 2xlp comp.
Equipment Pointed Ankh are from a Louisville KY lineage that spawned the Endtables and Your Food, grew with Squirrel Bait, extended into Gastr Del Sol, King Kong, and the Web, then casually emerged into the present with Valley of Ashes, Sapat, Road House and Flanger Magazine (the last three consisting of actual EPA members!!) They initially appeared as the brainchild of former Tropical Trashian Jim Marlowe, and while his first release of smoldering Kraut throb (Live on Sophomore Lounge and recognized by cover art featuring a doomed cowboy's naked dong) was a signpost to the future, the true EPA really began on Without Human Permission (Astral Editions/ Sophomore Lounge) with the addition of the now constant lineup of Chris Bush, Dan Davis, Ryan Davis (no relation!), and Shutaro Noguchi. They created spontaneous constructions of drums, synths, guitar, and sundry other instruments that were then edited into structural cohesion within the glorious freedom and sonic possibilities of a legitimate recording studio with an utterly simpatico recording engineer (this being RI's Seth Manchester at Machines with Magnets). This approach continued with the Changing Legs cd (Newton's Kidney) of all possible permutations of duo improvisations between members and then followed by the giddily melodic grooves of From Inside the House lp (Bruit Direct Disques).
So we now happily head "Downtown!", which finds the gang back at Machines with Magnets and further exploring and refining their rhythmic variations into bright and bubbly new panoramas. Little jaunty melodies zap and burble around the focus of the drums, which are oftentimes taut and so integrated into the overall sonic zone that they seem artificial sounding despite being performed by a real person on a real kit. But despite the preponderance of mostly electronic sounds there is no mistaking that 5 genuine humans are crafting this. This is not to suggest it's an entirely circuit-oriented affair, as piano, melodica, flute, and even a full on horn section shows up for a few glorious seconds. They've achieved a balance between This Heat/Faustian experimental pulse, mutated dance twitch, and tuneful soundscape, so whether you're a head bobber, pelvis gyrator, or chin scratcher you'll feel at home here. The whole thing is wrapped in whimsically grotesque artwork by Graham Lambkin showcasing what may be the inside of an ape's head minus a few facial layers and is sure to delight all who behold.
- Max Milgram